Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

 When he was near the completion of his life Jefferson insisted that he most wanted posterity to remember him for three things: The Declaration of Independence, The Statute of Virginia For Religious Freedom, and The University of Virginia.  Yet he had served his country as Congressman, Governor, Ambassador, the first Secretary of State, Vice President, and President.  His view, however, was that political positions were honors and responsibilities given to someone by the people, and that they were therefore not accomplishments in and of themselves.  This view of public service as something greater than positions and titles was in part what drove him to work with such an astonishing degree of dedication for the betterment of his country. His genius, of course, enabled him to transform that patriotic work ethic into tremendous accomplishments of text, architecture, law, science, philosophy, and invention that continue to serve America to this day.  His Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom became the basis for the First Amendment to the Constitution.  His conviction that an informed citizenry was the most important basis for a free society transformed our public education system.  Even though he was himself an aristocrat, with a bona fide coat of arms, he played a key role in dismantling the oppressive class system that would have otherwise prevented a man such as Abraham Lincoln from achieving the Presidency.  His visionary certainty in an “Empire of Liberty” effected the the Louisiana Purchase and solidified America’s foothold as a great nation.  And his ringing tones in the Declaration of Independence irrevocably set universal equality as the core goal for America.His curiosity was boundless, and so his pursuit of an almost incomprehensibly wide field of interests also helped give us vanilla ice cream, the dumbwaiter, and the revolving chair.  He undertook seminal...
Sissi Shattuck, Local and International Artist

Sissi Shattuck, Local and International Artist

Famous in our area for her wonderful paintings depicting historical and scenic areas in Hillsborough, the above painting of downtown Hillsborough adds to her other paintings that include: Hillsborough Center, scenic Jones Road, and the lower village including the President Franklin Pierce Homestead. Sissi was born in Klosterneuburg near Vienna, Austria. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, under Professors Christian L. Martin, Maximilian Melcher and Herbert Boeckl. After her certification for Art Education, she earned the diploma in graphics and painting (Akademische Graphikerin und Malerin). Studies at the Schule des Sehens in Salzburg under Oskar Kokoschka were a decisive influence on the young artist. Comparing her work to the vibrant music of Igor Stravinsky, Oskar Kokoschka awarded her a prize in painting. Her works are held in many private and public collections both in the United States and abroad. Her work has been shown in the United States and abroad (Vienna, Zagreb and at Raiffeisenbank galleries Waidhofen a.d. Ybbs, Klosterneuburg and Admont, also at the Niederosterreichische Landesbibliothek in St. Poelten). Sissi will be demonstrating Limner painting in her studio at Hillsborough Center during Living History...

Names on our town – where did they come from?

by Cynthia Van Hazinga Some of us have lived here so long we no longer wonder; some of us are new here and have no notion of why parts of town have the names they do. In many cases, there’s a person . . . and a story . . . behind the name. Hillsborough, the Town: Sure, it’s hilly, but our town was incorporated and named for the Englishman Col. John Hill of Boston, who was said to have paid Massachusetts Governor Wentworth about $50 when the territory was known as “No. 7.” In the early 1740s, the first brave homesteaders arrived, wielding axes. The settlement was, except for Charlestown, the most northerly outpost in New Hampshire, the borderline of civilization, as it was called. 2nd NH Turnpike: This state highway between Amherst and Claremont was opened to travel in 1801; for many years it was the main artery of business between Boston and Canada and was serviced by Kimball’s Tavern in the Lower Village and Wilson’s in the Upper Village, the regulation two miles apart. Bible Hill: So called for the only large bible in town, owned by Deacon Joseph Symonds who settled in the 1770s on what was then called West Hill. Symonds was the most prominent and richest man in Hillsborough when it was incorporated. Bible Hill was also the location of the first tavern in town, operated by “Capt. Sam” Bradford, and it was there that the first town meeting was held, in November, 1772. Beard Brook, Beard Road: Elijah was the first Beard to settle in town, in about 1785. He bought a...

The Pequawket Alliance

The Pequawket Alliance is a group of progressive historians, re-enactors, that portray life as it was in early to mid 18th century New France (Canada). The women in the camp wear 18th century attire, often layered which differs slightly from the 18th century British counterpart. They will be seen sewing, cooking, making lace and many other things that was demanded of an 18th century French woman in New France. They constantly dote on their men and constantly remind them to eat, stay hydrated and rest. They are all strong women, as to be expected for the time. The men portray Canadian Milice (militia) of New France. Canadian Milice were formed into companies, organized out of parishes, they had strong Catholic beliefs that governed how they lived. All men 16 to 60 were expected to do their part. Each Parish had a malice company, the more populated had several companies. Each company was required to drill every Sunday and was expected to be well armed with a musket, full powder horn, 20-30 pre-rolled cartridges, at least 20 extra balls (for the musket), a tomahawk and blade (knife). In battle they had no use for European style tactics. They preferred bush fighting, surprise the enemy, attack out of nowhere, give a war whoop (which was used to frighten their enemy), fire volley or fire individually. While on campaign, they could live indefinitely in the woods. However their raiding party style of warfare was so strenuous that when and if they returned, they were unrecognizable and needed long periods of time to recoup. When you see a Canadian Milice just sitting around,...
A One Man Performance

A One Man Performance

Eric Rotsinger has been portraying Mark Twain since 1997. He brings Mark Twain to life through his animated storytelling and personality. Rotsinger has presented at festivals, community events, historical societies, schools and Civil War reenactments. Rotsinger even had the honor of speaking for the Center for Mark Twain Studies at Elmira College in Elmira, New York in the summer of 2007. While in Elmira, he also had the opportunity to exchange ideas with some of the top Mark Twain scholars and visit the Mark Twain Study and Quarry Farm, where Twain spent many summers and completed many of his most famous works. When Rotsinger puts on the white suit, he truly becomes Mark Twain.’ Living Historians Living historians are not actors, or roll players, or Halloween refugees. Historians are serious portrayers of a famous personality or personalities. Our purpose is to take years of study, volumes of text, countless hours of research and distill it down to an image that encapsulates the essence of an individual. A “true” Living Historian looks at the totality of things and is not swayed by the obnoxious vicissitudes of public opinion. Therefore, we are not bound by political correctness. If you are looking for the Hollywood version of history, then rent a movie. If you want the truth, look to Living Historians. —Eric Rotsinger (aka Mark...